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March 28, 2020

There are things that happen in your life that can affect you forever… if you let them. For example, folks who know me well know I do not like snakes. Why? My brother and I were fishing on the North Fork of the Black River one time when we were young. We would often ride our bikes down to the river and do some fishing, usually catching something. This time though, nothing was biting. We were getting a little bored and then I noticed something moving by a tree further down the shoreline. I walked over for a better view and discovered a large pine snake. I called my brother and he came, and we came up with the wonderful idea to throw some stones at the snake. We started throwing and at first were not even close, but then we got closer and we could tell the snake was getting agitated. About that time one of us hit the snake and its head came up and looked me directly in the eye (I still believe this). It moved!!!! “It is coming toward us! Run!” “No, it’s not!” “Yes, it is!” “No, it’s–oh it is!” We ran back to where we were fishing, grabbed our poles and tackle boxes, and ran up the path to the road and got on our bikes.
The old Battle of New Orleans song applied to us: “Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles, and they ran through the bushes where a snake couldn’t go. They ran so fast that the snake couldn’t catch ‘em, down the path and to the road they did go 😊.”
We looked back after grabbing our gear, and the snake had moved onto the path and was following us. As we ran up the path, the snake followed us. As we scrambled onto our bikes, it continued up the path toward us. As we biked down the road toward home, I looked back, and I swear that snake had found a bike and was following us. (OK, the last part isn’t true…well, I don’t think so.)
We got home and were exhausted and I did not sleep well that night. I kept waking up and looking around my room and finally morning came and…no signs of a snake. Whew!
Now that was like 45 years ago. Because of that incident, I still do not like snakes. Am I afraid of them? No, not really. I just avoid them. I love the zoo but avoid the snake houses. I love the woods but am very wary of snakes. Several years ago, we stopped at Rainforest Café in Gurnee, Illinois and I made sure that every snake in there was either fake or a toy so I could eat my meal in peace (well there was a very loud gorilla). Afterwards, there was a pet store across from the restaurant and a young lady was asking anyone if they would like to pet the very large and long yellow snake. I said I would, knowing that it was not real, but when that snake moved…well our daughters said they didn’t know I could move so fast.
Why this story? Because what happens in our life can affect us forever. Today, we are experiencing all kinds of events that most of us have never been through before. How are we dealing with them? What is our attitude? Are we negative? Are we positive? Will we remember? What will we remember?
There are so many thoughts about all of this that go through my mind daily, sometimes by the minute. We can let it affect us. I hope it does. Because we can learn from it. Let’s not dwell on it. Let’s grow from it. Let us become better people.
And for those times when it is affecting you, repeat these words that I use when I encounter a snake: “He placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:17)
Next time we’re wondering why this painful time is lasting so long, let’s remember this: everything is in God’s hands. God’s timing is better than ours. There is always a positive purpose to the storms, and our future is assured.

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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